That Girl From Kalighat

Published by on October 3, 2022
Categories: stories

Kolkata always reminded me of old black-and-white movies. With its bare and faded structures, rickshaws pulled by hands, the streets that served tea on terracotta cups, the trams that rattled along its path…

Kalighat was where our pursuit for photographs ended. The place was uncharacteristic from the other temples around, lacking the usual calm one would expect at a divine centre. There were workers removing the carcass of an animal sacrificed to appease Goddess Kali – reminiscent to the by-gone tradition of laying human lives instead. Then there were the devotees from all parts around, rushing through the compound.

Beyond the line of old, rusty buildings, the slim river Adi Ganga glided forward, burdened by the city’s garbage. And ahead of it was the alternate facade of Kolkata – the Red-light Street.

By the riverside, outside a typically ordinary house, sat a girl. She instantly reminded me of faces seen in Bengali movies. As I readied my camera with an inherent apprehension, her face had the composure of having faced countless cameras…

If I drew a line from the temple to the Red-light Street, she was right at the centre of it.


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